Chardy ousts injury-hit Roddick

Japans Nishikori storms past Spains Granollers; Venus fights back

Andy Roddick's US Open preparations took a turn for the worst on Tuesday when he suffered a back injury in a 6-7, 3-6 first round defeat by France's Jeremy Chardy at the Cincinnati Open.

Chardy, who took his place in the first round as a 'luck loser', triumphed 7-4 in a first set tie-break but Roddick struggled in the second set during which he had treatment for back spasms.

After receiving attention, Roddick's serve was noticeably slower and he was broken twice by the Frenchman who is ranked 38th in the world.

Tournament wins in Atlanta and Eastbourne had indicated an upturn in form for Roddick but now he has to see whether he will be fit to play at Winston-Salem next week or hold himself back for the Open.

 "I don't know yet. You know, we're going to have to figure this thing out. I don't have all the answers for it yet," Roddick said after his loss.

Chardy will take on Russia's Denis Istomin in the second round. There was better news, though, for another American with 10th seed Mardy Fish defeating Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 6-2, 6-2 in their first round game.

German former world number two Tommy Haas saved one match point to beat Argentine David Nalbandian 6-7, 7-6, 6-3 and the 34-year-old will next face Argentine sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro.

Japan's Kei Nishikori cruised to a 6-1, 6-2 win over Spaniard Marcel Granollers in a match that lasted just 65 minutes. Russian-American Alex Bogomolov also wasted little time in beating Finn Jarkko Nieminen 6-4, 6-3 to set up a clash with world number one Roger Federer, a four-time winner at Cincinnati.

Venus progresses

Venus Williams showed almost a year after her health scare that she has the stamina needed as she battled for two hours 23 minutes to beat Russia's Maria Kirilenko 6-3, 6-7, 6-2 at the Cincinnati Open on Tuesday.

Sister Serena, fresh from her Olympic gold medal success in London, ground out a 6-3, 6-4 win over determined Greek Eleni Daniilidou.

Venus served for the match twice in the second set, when up 5-4 and 6-5, but Kirilenko, the 12th seed, fought well to push the first-round contest into a third set. The American was on top throughout the decider, though, showing no signs of the physical ailments which cut short her campaign in the US Open last year.

The seven-times Grand Slam singles champion pulled out of last year's US Open citing an auto-immune disease, Sjogren's Syndrome, which causes fatigue and joint pain.

Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova fought back in the second set, surviving match point, to beat China's Zheng Jie 2-6, 7-6, 6-3 and will next face Italian Sara Errani.

Australian world number six Samantha Stosur survived a scare against Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues before winning 6-3, 6-7, 6-4. Stosur had to come back from 0-4 down in the third and did so by winning six straight games.

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